Amazing Grace Sung With Us Rather Than At Us

I hope you didn’t miss the extraordinary eulogy the President gave a few weeks ago in the wake of the abhorrent massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, SC. Nine people were killed while in Bible study class with only hatred as a flimsy rationale by the shooter, Dylan Roof.

The eulogy was both personal and profoundly universal, with the president talking about the power of Grace, of basking in the glory of a power larger than ourselves that enables to forgive and provide solace to others. And, as you well know, he sang the historic hymn of Amazing Grace, as proud as it was imperfect. Here, watch (better, watch the whole speech):

Donovan X. Ramsey wrote a thoughtful essay about the President’s eulogy entitled, “President Obama: Talk to Black America Not At Us.” Ramsey captures the feeling that many people had watching the speech that this was the President we have been waiting for. Not the timid one, or the Professor in Chief, or the worn down president with a small “p” who never really wanted a battle with the opposing party. This was the one that we have seen in such brief moments; in mid-2007 when he invited people to shape his campaign with him rather than just write checks like the second campaign. This was the hope: that we would all participate equally, passionately in shaping this presidency.

Unfortunately, more often, the President and his team hid behind closed doors, wrote code for a disasterous health care site done by bureaucrats when an army of open-source coders stood ready to help. Backed down from open town hall meetings with pro-marijuana activists refused to be overlooked.

Part of what made this eulogy so powerful was how infrequently we have seen this President. The one who is with us, a part of us, not working and talking at us. This is also the essence of leading with a Matterness lens. No one is waiting out there for some leader to give them marching orders. chinese to hmong We are ready, willing and able to jump to action, when we are asked to participate in meaningful ways.

Ah, well, the Obama years are almost over. Maybe, someday, we’ll get a leader who stops working at us.

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Allison Fine

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